Sunday, August 30, 2015

(Review) Amandopondo: Player One Defeated

There are many things I picture when I hear the word "luxury."  Most of the time it's over-exuberant things like solid gold toilets and diamond encrusted napkin rings.  You know, absolutely useless things that probably cost more than half a years rent that the upper crust of society deems something they absolutely need.  Luxury these days (to me at least) has gotten pretty obnoxious, bordering on delusional.  While I'm not a champagne sucking, yacht toting, more tiny dogs than I can count la dee dah member of the rich and famous (yet), I like to keep my luxuries simple.  Hell, even keeping a roof over my head that I pay for out of my own pocket is a luxury in itself.  At this point in my life, luxury is having the time and ingredients to make a home cooked meal, keeping my apartment clean, and actually going out and socializing with people where my mouth does the talking and not my fingers flying across a keyboard.  My luxuries are simple, but at the end leave you feeling like a million bucks.  Cue segue into bubble bar review.

Ironically being a Lush employee, I'm not too big on bubble baths.  I wasn't big on baths in general before I started working at Lush either.  But once in a while, I'll get this mad hankering for a movie starlet-esque bath, overflowing with bubbles and candles in every corner of my bathroom.  So when one of these cravings set in, I found it a good time to bust out the soon to be discontinued Amandopondo.

Amandopondo has an interesting backstory, and is arguably one of the favorite product stories of my staff at my shop.  Meaning "forgiveness" or "defeat" in a language I believe is spoken in Africa (I'm not sure what exact language it is though), Amandopondo was inspired after a lawsuit against Lush accusing them of plagiarism by a rival company.  Well that rival company lost, and when asked what Lush wanted in return, co-founder Mark Constantine (ever a total BAMF in my eyes) requested a dozen of the finest red roses money could buy, and a simple apology, or admission of defeat.  The company obliged, and Amandopondo was born. 

Described as floral yet citrusy, Amandopondo packs lemon, orange, and rose oils into a tiny ivory bar.  A tiny pink rosebud is all that decorates this simple but effective bar!

I'll admit, due to its simple appearance, I wasn't necessarily drawn to Amandopondo.  As someone who loves color and dramatics, I felt like Amandopondo didn't really jive with my "bath personality."  But when I heard it was on the discontinued list, I decided to give it a shot. 

The floral yet citrusy scent is super subtle, but pleasant.  I'm not one for floral scents, but this one was light enough to where I didn't mind it, and I do enjoy citrus so the pair went together nicely!  And I have to say, for a bubble bar with a simple appearance, it' a prime example of why you should never judge a book by its covered.  When I held this baby under the running tap, the bubbles produced were huge!  Instead of being clear, the bath water underneath all that foam turned a milky white, and the scent was slightly amplified.  I sank into my bubble bath feeling like a Hollywood starlet, except replace the red lipstick with a face mask and the champagne with an ice cold water and an iPhone.

I'm both happy and sad to say that Amandopondo exceeded all of my expectations in the bubble bar department, and I'm quite sad to see it go.  The bubbles it produced was voluminous and over the top, while the scent was subtle and as soft as my skin felt after I was done soaking.  It's perfect for those moments where you want to indulge in a little luxury, and forget that the dinner you're about to eat afterwards is a bowl of ramen.

 **Amandopondo is certified Vegan

Sunday, August 16, 2015

(Review) Don't Look At Me: Da Ba Dee Da Ba Die

If there's one part of my life that I'm glad is over, it's the ravages of puberty.  Once in a while I'll reflect on my teen years and remember the frizzy hair, the braces, the odd paunch of baby fat here and there, but most importantly, I remember the acne.  While my skin wasn't nearly as bad as some of my friends, it was still bad enough for me to be embarrassed by it.  I remember gazing in the mirror after washing my face in the morning, seeing what new hellish red abominations had popped up onto my face as I slept.  My mom, ever vigilant on my skincare routine (I largely credit her with my obsession with it, as well as my good skin!) had me try everything, from products high end to end of the line, antibiotics, prescription creams, even the vile smelling Proactiv line.  While some products worked temporarily, nothing was ever a permanent fix.  Only when I was out of high school and a year or two older did my skin start to clear up.

Now that high school is a distant memory covered in scene kid hair extensions. old Hot Topic t-shirts, and more regrets than I care to count, my skin for the most part is clear and pristine.  Every so often I'll get a few breakouts here and there, but nothing too terrible.  But this past week, when I woke up bright and early for work, I took one look in the mirror and was shocked to find breakouts everywhere!

Don't Look at Me is one of two new fresh face masks available from Lush (in-store only!).  Inspired by the (really really bizarre) song of the same name by the band The Lovely Eggs (eggs are quite lovely, aren't they?), Don't Look At Me is an obscenely bright blue mask that smells remarkably like tomato salsa (a good thing, because who in their right mind doesn't like salsa!?).  Described as "Cupcake mask for grown ups," Don't Look At Me has tons of lemon juice in it to brighten, cleanse, and soak up oil, kaolin to clean out what ails your skin, and ground rice for some awesome scrubby action.

I couldn't believe my skin's timing with the release of these once Oxford Street exclusives, so I snagged five black pots from my garbage bag full of empties (no I'm not joking) and snagged one after my shift.  During a long luxurious bath, I cracked open the pot, scooped out the refreshingly blue goop, and slathered my skin with a good coat of it.  Being in a hot bath, this cooled me right down and I sunk back with my book and let the mask do its task. 

Apologies for the derp face
Now, a little prior history about my skin.  It's mainly combo-dry, but in the humid climate where I dwell during summer, it gets much more oily, especially on my forehead.  My breakouts are usually hormonal and are centered around my nose and cheeks, but every so often I'll get a painful cystic bump on my chin (you know...for fun).  When I'm talking about how I had a massive breakout, I'm talking all of the above seemed to have hit me overnight (again...for fun!).  When the mask was about 75% dry, I splashed my face with water and massaged the ground rice into my skin before finally rinsing my skin clean and patting it dry.  When I wiped the remaining bits of blue away, I actually remember stepping back from the mirror a bit and letting out a Fonz-esque " 'eyyyyyyyyy" when looking at my skin!  While Don't Look at Me didn't make everything disappear, I could tell a HUGE difference when it came to my red, broken out skin!  The tone and texture of my skin was more even and bright, and the red areas were a tad more dulled down.  This made me extremely happy, as red breakouts on my pale skin stick out like crazy, and cause me quite a bit of embarrassment, even when makeup or color correcting can't cover it.  

Pretty sure if you threw compounder Dan in a pit with my coworkers, they'd all be fighting over him.  We have a thing for beards at my shop ;)
Overall, Don't Look at Me after one use became my all time favorite fresh mask.  I've used it twice more since that first time and each time I've been blown away with my skin after I wash it away.  While I do love the bright blue color, the only downside to it I feel is that if you have any dried skin on your face, the pigment kind of gets absorbed by it so you have some dull blue looking flecks of skin.  I feel as though it's good for any skin type, although you might want to be careful if you're sensitive, since the lemon oil might be a bit much.  The ground rice made for a gentle but effective scrub and the fresh scent was an added bonus to the near miraculous power of this mask.  After using this mask, I think you'll all be saying...DO...look at me!  Am I RIGHT?!

...terrible jokes are awesome!

 *** Don't Look At Me is certified Vegan